Episode 43: Guest Christina Miller

The Jewelry District show

Summary: In This EpisodeYou’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky (https://www.jckonline.com/writer/victoria-gomelsky/) and news director Rob Bates (https://www.jckonline.com/writer/rob-bates/) interview Christina Miller, owner and founder of Christina T. Miller Sustainable Jewelry Consulting. Show Notes 00:30 Victoria and Rob introduce their guest, Christina Miller, founder of Christina T. Miller Sustainable Jewelry Consulting.06:09 Christina discusses her first company, Ethical Metalsmiths.15:27 You'll hear the very first step you can take to become sustainable.19:26 Christina argues that claiming you use recycled gold is not enough to be considered sustainable.23:33 Victoria asks if Christina is hopeful about sustainability, and Christina says we have a long way to go. Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: christinatmiller.com (https://christinatmiller.com/), jckonline.com (https://www.jckonline.com/), @jckmagazine (https://www.instagram.com/jckmagazine/) Show Recap Introducing Christina MillerAn expert on sustainability and sustainable sourcing, Christina Miller is the owner and founder of Christina T. Miller Sustainable Jewelry Consulting. From 2004 to 2015, she led the nonprofit organization Ethical Metalsmiths, which she cofounded. Today, she’s calling in from the village of College Corner, Ohio. Perhaps not a hub for jewelry, College Corner does happen to be a place where international activities on responsible sourcing and sustainability occur (right from her home office!). Christina comes from an academic art background and always wanted to be an art teacher; she earned bachelor's and master’s degrees in jewelry and metalsmithing. Ethical Metalsmiths Around 2005, Christina and her Ethical Metalsmith cofounder, Susan Kingsley, gave a talk on sustainability at a conference put on by the Society of North American Goldsmiths. Though this concept is commonplace in our jewelry industry now, their ideas were not well-received 16 years ago. Early on in her career, large-scale mining really made an impression on Christina. She's been concerned with the way we pushed aside Native Americans and eradicated groups of people to obtain our raw materials. Christina explains who Ethical Metalsmiths originally aimed to inform, and how the industry changed over the next 11 years after she formed the organization. How to Become Sustainable Since her days in Ethical Metalsmiths, Christina has been working with retailers, designers, and civil society organizations on sustainable practices. She encourages people to look inward and to work within their own belief system. First, you should think about the impact you would like to have, and then work to pursue sourcing that matches those values. Christina says ethical jewelry sourcing lies in the relationships we have with people all along the supply chain. Sustainability is a journey, and while we may be shortsighted when we start out, we learn to to be more ethical as we become more educated. Why Recycled Gold Isn't Enough Christina encourages people to reconsider how highly they tout their use of recyclable gold; companies shouldn’t be making claims that they can’t substantiate. We need to be doing more than just using recycled gold. Christina argues that all gold is really recycled, as all the gold that has ever existed lies somewhere on or within our planet. Using recycled gold is a start, but there’s so much more that has to be done in order to be considered sustainable. We Have a Long Way to Go